HandMade Photographic Images

Chris Johnson's Film Development Information


KODAK D-76 is a general-purpose developer sold as a powder that can be used straight from a stock solution or diluted one part stock to one part water. D-76 gives slightly finer grain. in and is replenishable when used straight.

ILFORD ID-11 PLUS is very similar to D-76 but gives finer grain and is good for Expansion developments.

AGFA RODINAL is a concentrated liquid developer that produces grainy but extremely sharp negatives. Rodinal acts as a compensating developer when used in high dilutions.

EDWAL FG-7 is a fine-grained liquid developer that has a slight compensating effect when used at dilutions of 1:15 or greater. Adding sodium sulfite will reduce your development time and gives you finer grain. To make a 9% solution of sodium sulfite, add 45 grams of sodium sulfite to 15 ounces of water. Add one ounce of FG-7 to make a 1:15 solution.

HC-110 is an excellent all-purpose developer that comes in liquid form which makes it quick and easy to use. Kodak lists a number of dilution possibilities on the bottle. Dilution B is one part stock solution to seven parts water.

ILFORD PERCEPTOL is a softer-working, fine-grained developer that is very useful for Contraction developments because of its relatively long Normal Development time.

KODAK T-MAX is an excellent and versatile high-energy developer designed specially for Kodak's T-Max films. T-Max gives good contrast and film speed with any film, but it is especially food with T-Max 100 and 400 when used at 75 degree. T-Max developer comes in a liquid stock that is mixed 1:4 for a working solution.

Note: Kodak T-Max developer is not recommended for use with any sheet film. Occasionally dark, blotchy coating called dichroic fog will appear on the emulsion side of your film and can only be removed by vigorously washing the film by hand, which carries the risk of scratching the image. Because roll films don't use the same adhesive coatings as sheet films between the emulsion and the film base, dichroic fog is not a problem when T-Max developer is used with roll film.

KODAK T-MAX RS developer is very similar in quality to T-Max developer except that it produces negatives with slightly more contrast. T-Max RS is formulated to be "self-replenishing". This means that after you mix a one-gallon supply of T-Max RS, you can divide it into two half-gallon bottles. The first bottle is your working solution, and the second bottle can be used to replenish the first without changing the dilution. Kodak recommends replenishing at a rate of 1 1/2 ounces per roll processed. This system is easy to use and has the advantage of making it impossible to over-replenish. When the second half is used up, you can assume that the developer is exhausted and ready to be replaced.

Unlike T-Max developer, T-Max RS developer is recommended for sheet film because it is designed for use in machines and contains buffers that prevent the silver from replating on the surface.

T-Max Films, Delta and T-Max Developer

By applying Tabular Grain or T-Grain technology to black and white emulsions, Kodak and Ilford have produced new films that have substantially less grain than standard emulsion films.

Kodak's T- grain films are: T-Max P3200, T-Max 400 and T-Max 100.

Ilford's T-grain films are Delta 400, Delta 100

The finer grain and excellent image quality of these new films will no doubt make them very popular with serious photographers, but my test results indicate that T-Max and Delta have unusual characteristics that should be given special attention.

1) I found T-Max 400 and 100 and Delta to be no faster than Tri-X or Plus-X, and in fact they are extremely unforgiving of underexposure. Under normal conditions, E.I. 200 for T-Max 400, and E.I. 50 for T-Max 100, will give you good results but be sure that you place your Important Shadow value no lower than Zone III on the scale.

2) T-Grain films are extremely sensitive to changes in development time, temperature, dilution and agitation rate. Inconsistencies in any of these variables will produce noticeable changes in the contrast of your negatives. Make an effort to be as consistent as possible in your development procedures-

3) Because T-Grain films are unusually responsive to changes in development time, the normal Expansion and Contraction formulas do not apply to these films. When processing T-Grain films in the standard dilutions of most developers, use the following formulas to compute your Normal Plus and Normal Minus times.

Normal Minus

To determine your Normal Minus Development Times when using T-Grain films, start with your Normal time and apply the following formulas:

For your N-1 time, multiply your Normal time by 0.9

For your N-2 time, multiply your Normal time by 0.8

Normal Plus

To determine your Normal Plus Development Times when using T-Grain films, apply the following formulas:

For your N+1 time, multiply your Normal time by 1.1

For your N+2 time multiply your N+1 time by 1.1

Note: The times you derive from these formulas should only be considered as starting points for determining the exact Expansion and Contraction times for your development procedures. Keep careful records of your results.

4) Kodak recommends that T-Max films require less compensation for the reciprocity effect than conventional films. Ordinarily when your indicated exposure is 10 seconds, a 50 second exposure is required, with a 20% reduction in your development time to avoid underexposure and over development. With T-Max, Kodak recommends and exposure of only 15 seconds for a 10 second indicated exposure with no reduction of your development time.

5) Longer fixing and washing times are required with T-Grain films in order to clear special dyes added to the film base.


Based upon the results of my most current Zone System tests, what follows are some answers to commonly asked questions regarding films and developers.

Q) What film/developer combination gives the finest grain with good shadow detail and the best overall contrast?

A) T-Max 100 in T-Max developer at 75 degrees.
Delta 100 in FG-7 w/s.s

Q) What film/developer combination gives the fastest speed with the least grain?

A) Ilford HP-5+ in Edwal FG-7 with a 9% solution of sodium sulfite.

Q) What developers give the finest grain with good shadow detail and the best overall contrast with the films you have tested?

Film Recommended Developer
Kodak P3200 Kodak HC-110 (B)
Kodak Tri-X Kodak T-Max or Edwal FG-7 w/s.s.
Kodak Plus -X T-Max or Kodak HC-110 (B)
Kodak T-Max 400 Kodak T-Max
Kodak T-Max 100 Kodak T-Max
Ilford HP-5+ Edwal FG-7 w/s.s.
Ilford FP-4+ Edwal FG-7 w/s.s.
Ilford Delta 400 Edwal FG-7 w/s.s.


Q) Which developer gives the finest grain and most film speed and contrast with Kodak T-Max P3200

A) Kodak HC-110 dilution B.

Q) Which developer film combination gives the most speed grain for special purposes?

A) Kodak T-Max P3200 in Agfa Rodinol.


There are a number of factors that will effect your development time.
The most important are:

1) AGITATION - The longer and more aggressively you agitate the film in the developer, the shorter your development time will be. Consistency is very important.

My agitation plan for roll film is as follows:

Constant agitation for the first 30 seconds

Rest for 30 seconds

Agitate for 5 seconds for every 30 seconds up to the total development time.

2) DILUTION OF THE DEVELOPER - It is extremely important that you accurately measure your chemistry every time you process your film. Changing the dilution has a dramatic effect on the contrast of your negatives. Very dilute developers reduce negative contrast. Higher concentrations increase contrast.

3) TEMPERATURE - Once you establish a working temperature for your chemistry, make sure that you don't stray from this standard by more than one degree.